The Mojomatics have existed in quite a few incantations since 1978 when lead singer Manny Foglio met guitarist Bill Barrett. On the other hand, by 1997, all the melodramatic rifts and revolving door chords were behind them, but was enough personal depression left to allow them to keep on singing the blues in Connecticut.
“There’s a lot of straws to draw from in our original music,” jokes Mr. Foglio of the band’s extreme level of melancholy. In actuality, though, audiences will find the Mojomatics mindset a bit in denial of the truth. “We truly enjoy playing with each other,” he says, and ego is not among the chemical characteristics that makes their mojo matter.
They don’t seem to be in much of a rush either. “After all these years, we finally put together a CD in 2006,” he says of a musical endeavor that took Mr. Foglio and Mr. Barrett eight years to do with band mates, Paul Gabriel, Scott Logan, Bart Richards and Tim Murphy.
Now, having about 20 original songs to their credit, an analogy to fine wine is somewhat unavoidable, but whiskey would be much better suited to the Mojomatic’s cause. “Our band runs on 90 proof – that’s our octane of choice,” he says, and the results actually speak far and worldwide.
A few years ago, The Connecticut Blues Society chose the Mojomatic’s CD as the best independently released CD and submitted it to the Memphis Blues Challenge. In addition, Dan Aykroyd’s House of Blues Radio selected the Mojomatics as the Blues Breaker of the week in October, 2007. “We are one of the few unsigned bands who’ve gotten that designation,” he says, and apparently, they’ve even spread a good deal of unhappiness to blues lovers in The Netherlands.
Featured on Blue Ears Internet Radio, he says eight songs on their CD were in constant rotation for a year, but out of a recent review, the Mojomatics brand of blues was tagged just right, he adds. “Radical, traditional blues,” he says describes their edgy Chicago blues style, which operates without feeling tired or out of date.
On the local music circuit, at The Redding Roadhouse, Rivercat Grill or Beach Café, fans can catch the Mojo in a frenzy, and also know to give Mr. Foglio the extra room he needs – especially when the moon is full. Raised by wolves, he says, “I kind of get off the wall but any excuse will do.”
That restlessness appears to smolder into his day job at Bronxville High School, where he works as an audio visual specialist. “Actually, they think I’m a bit of an ogre,” he says his indirect interaction with students.
Unfortunately, they’ll have to Shrek out his snarl, as he realistically accesses the possibility of some day being a full time musician. “That’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future – unless I hit the lottery, he says.
But regardless of whether numbers add up or not, the Mojomatics always come with the most. “Even if there’s just a couple of people in the house, I’m going to give it all whenever I go out – that’s just the way it is with us,” he concludes.
Rich Monetti interview of Manny Foglio